One of the finest and most distinctive voices to come out of Africa heads to New Zealand in March for WOMAD New Zealand 2012 – Senegalese singer Baaba Maal.
Considered a superstar in his West African home country, Baaba Maal has wowed audiences from the BBC Proms at London’s Royal Albert Hall to Glastonbury; and from performing at the Live Earth Concert in Johannesburg to creating the soundtrack for the Oscasr-winning Riodley Scott movie Black Hawk Down.
“We are absolutely thrilled to be presenting Baaba Maal for WOMAD New Zealand 2012,” artistic director Drew James said. “Baaba Maal is an incredible musician who also plays an important role in Africa as he continues to drive a vision of uplifting the African continent.”
Baaba Maal joins artists from another 17 countries for WOMAD New Zealand 2012 which takes place at New Plymouth’s Brooklands Park and TSB Bowl of Brooklands from 16-18 March.
Baaba Maal was interested in music from a young age and studied in Senegal’s capital, Dakar where he spent his time learning about local musical instruments. He toured West Africa with longtime friend and renowned guitarist Mansour Seck, before studying in Paris and, on returning to Senegal, forming his band Daande Lenol (Voice of the People).
With and without his band, he has released 10 albums – beginning with 1988’s’Wango’ and continuing through the 90’s and into the 21st century. His latest album ‘Television’ was released in 2009. Baaba Maal regularly heads the bill at major music festivals and events around the world including the BBC Proms Concert at London’s Royal Albert Hall in 2005, Glastonbury, the Africa Remix Festival at London’s Royal Festival Hall, led the Make Poverty History March at the G8 Protest in Edinburgh, and performed at the Women of the World concert in London in March 2011.
As well as collaborating with Mansour Seck, he has also worked with Blur/Gorillaz frontman Damon Albarn on the large-scale Africa Express project; in 2008 he created the soundtrack for the Playstation and X-Box game Far Cry 2 and worked with Hans Zimmer on the soundtrack for the Oscar-winning Ridley Scott movie Black Hawk Down.
In 20003 Baaba Maal was made a Youth Emissary for the United Nations’ Development Programme and is committed to the concerns of families, young people and the future of the continent. “When I involve myself with Africa, my idea is of how Africa will grow into the new millennium. This is why I really wanted to make music, so more people can listen to my messages.
“I think the musician’s role is to give advice, to warn people and to make them aware of what they might not have thought of themselves,” he said. “We use melodies and harmonies to make songs enter your mind.”
Baaba Maal will perform twice during WOMAD New Zealand 2012, alongside an incredible array of musicians from all corners of the globe.
As well as 30 hours of music on the seven stages, WOMAD New Zealand 2012 features artists in conversation, Taste the World – this year hosted by Masterchef runner-up Jax, artist workshops, a global village, sustainable village, Kidzone and the option to camp at the adjacent racecourse. Seniors have special viewing platforms at the three main stages with seating, shade and free water sponsored by TSB Bank.
WOMAD is an international festival created by Peter Gabriel and Thomas Brooman in 1982. Since then 21 countries have hosted the festival and entertained millions of festival goers.
Tickets for WOMAD New Zealand 2012 are now on sale through Ticketek. on 0800 TICKETEK (842 538) or http://www.ticketek.co.nz. The full line-up and detailed information is available on thehe WOMAD website http://www.womad.co.nz